an electronic arts magazine
A Note from the Curator
A poem from Italian-Colombian painter Giorgio Celin and photography from Riccardo Testolin, an Italian PhD candidate in Ecology, paired with a recipe and recommendations for reading, listening & viewing. A first of what I hope to be a series of many. Treat this dispatch as a Friday review, to be read on the way home from work or on the way out of town, on the way to the bar or in bed Saturday morning. A little drop in the bucket, a short verse read out loud on the tram, the blow of a horn in an alley, a bucket to send down into the well.
Many years ago in an East Atlanta attic, the name PERM PRESS came to me in a flash of fluorescent pink and hair curlers. I smashed out an old TV screen I found in the basement, spray painted the frame, lined the interior with tinfoil, installed a door with hinges and started throwing in ideas for what I wanted to publish — scraps of poems, horoscopes cut out from newspapers, flyers ripped off of telephone poles, glitter, recipes, movie stills, knick-knacks. It was some strange shrine assembled from trash and ephemera, as if I was conjuring up a spell.
When I opened the depository months later, I dumped it out and started to piece together my findings. There were some poems hidden in there, but I couldn’t uncover anything else of substance. The TV was eventually moved to an apartment above a Jamaican restaurant in the Old Fourth Ward, where I toyed around with the idea of starting the press again — a DIY zine that would be distributed across the city in identical little busted out televisions bedazzled in hot pink, foil and glitter — but the idea never made it off the page.
I don’t know what happened to the TV when I moved to Buenos Aires, but the idea stayed with me. Dan and I founded OOMPH! around that same time — an international literary press publishing poetry and short prose in translation — and that project set sail. It wasn’t until I was in Rome that I stumbled across work that not only resonated with me, but aligned with the PERM aesthetic that I had in my head. And here we are with Issue 1.
I first heard Giorgio Celin read his poem, “L’alato bambino” (The winged child) at Suddenly Every Wednesday — a reading series ran by Jahan Khajavi at Garbo Bar in Trastevere — and I was mesmerized by the sheer movement of the verse. A poem filled with vivid imagery and allusions to Greco-Roman mythology, Celin tells a moving story of epiphany and transformation. Issue 1 features both the original Italian text and the translation into English.
Riccardo Testolin is a good friend of a friend, who I believe I met on a terrace in Pigneto that overlooks the rail line that runs behind Via Prenestina and passes Parco dell’Energia. His photography came into my periphery online — seemingly carefully curated shots of his travels showcasing pops of pastels against wide open skies; common strangers caught in time while navigating familiar terrain; everyday objects found isolated on cafe tables and cobblestone sidewalks; quick snapshots taken while on the move.
The remaining work consists of recommendations: a playlist of music from Latin America and Spain, a recipe for Creole Blackened Chicken; a hand-picked selection of films, documentaries, books and podcasts that I have found particularly interesting and felt compelled to share.
If you’re wondering why I’ve decided to launch PERM PRESS, the reasons are two-fold. Firstly, I wanted to begin another curatorial project. For those of you who know me, I have always been interested in bringing artists and their art together under one roof for exhibitions — in Atlanta, there was the DIRTY SOUTH READING SERIES and the DIY FIRST THURSDAYS, and in Buenos Aires and Rome there have been a sleuth of OOMPH! events. But perhaps the most important reason for the existence of this magazine (and perhaps all of my artistic endeavors) is that I feel a strong conviction to promote cross-pollination across artistic mediums, styles, languages and cultures.